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After missing the cut at The Masters, Rory McIlroy decided to skip this week’s RBC Heritage. While some of the game’s biggest players are electing not to play the week following a major championship is nothing new, not playing in this year’s RBC means more than it ever has.
The top players on the PGA Tour agreed to play in a certain number of new-look designated events this season. Each player eligible to play in these events is allowed to miss one of them over the course of the season, but McIlroy will miss two after skipping this week’s event in Hilton Head.
READ: RORY MCILROY ISSUES A THREAT – AND BLATANT LIE – TO THE PGA TOUR IF IT DOESN’T ROLL BACK THE GOLF BALL
Not only does it seem like a bit of a slap in the face for the Tour given that McIlroy was the most vocal voice that went to bat for the new-look events, and more top-heavy schedule, but it could also mean he could be punished by the Tour, financially, for missing the event.
The PGA Tour announced its Player Impact Program (PIP) standings – a bonus given to players who have the most engagement – in November and McIlroy was No. 2 behind only Tiger Woods.
A report in late December stated that 75% of the PIP would be paid after the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January, the other designated event McIlroy skipped out on. The other 25% would be paid out after the final designated event on the schedule.
Woods will top the PIP standings at the end of the year, even if he doesn’t play again the rest of the year. The second-place finisher receives $12 million, and it’s a safe bet McIlroy will hold that spot until the end of the season.
Seeing as how McIlroy won’t technically meet the criteria in playing all but one of the designated events, he could miss out on 25% of $12 million, which is a smooth $3 million.
With McIlroy being the unofficial spokesperson of the Tour it’s hard to imagine commissioner Jay Monahan punish him, which is exactly what golf writer Alan Shipnuck explained about the situation.
While the Tour is in a unique spot where it may want to send a message to McIlroy so others won’t pull the same stunt, it has its hands tied to actually punish him in any way.
McIlroy has not spoken to the media since missing the cut at Augusta National and has not given a reason as to why he pulled out of this week’s RBC Heritage.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris
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Professional golf is a feces extravaganza today.